How to Make Holiday Luminaries

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When it comes to holiday decorating, it's all about the lighting, and one of the most festive ways to light up the season is with luminaries. Whether lined up along a walkway or gracing the front steps of your home, luminaries add a warm glow that says "welcome" to all your holiday guests.

Easy-to-Make Festive Fun

While luminaries can range from plain brown paper bags to glass and ceramic pieces, it's easy to create your own luminaries that shine with holiday spirit and flair.

Things You'll Need

(photo: Jonathan Fong)

Image templates, from eHow holiday printables (

Colored paper bag

Masking tape

Mat board

Craft knife

Clear plastic

Spray adhesive

Glitter glue

Feather boa


Prepare the Image for Cutting

(photo: Jonathan Fong)

Size your image so that it fits onto the side of the paper bag. Tape the image to the bag with masking tape. Insert a piece of mat board or cardboard in the paper bag so that when you cut the image, the blade doesn’t slice through the other side of the bag.

Cut Out the Image

(photo: Jonathan Fong)

Using a craft knife, cut along the perimeter of the image. Press firmly so that you cut through both the template and the paper. With some designs, you will lose the interior details when you cut around the edges, but don’t worry; you will be able to add those details in the next few steps.

Create a Window with Clear Plastic

(photo: Jonathan Fong)

Adding a piece of clear plastic as a window supports the more delicate parts of the design as well as provides a surface for the interior details. Cut a piece of plastic that is larger than the design but smaller than the bag. Apply a light coat of spray adhesive to the plastic and place the plastic inside the bag, pressing the sticky side of the plastic against the design.

Cut Out the Interior Details

(photo: Jonathan Fong)

Tape the interior pieces that you had cut out earlier (both the template and the paper bag) to the mat board, and trim along the lines with your craft knife.

Apply the Details to the Clear Plastic

(photo: Jonathan Fong)

Place the interior detail on the plastic. Because there is a coating of spray adhesive on the surface, the piece will stay in position.

Glitter it Up

(photo: Jonathan Fong)

Squeeze some glitter glue along the edges of the design. The glitter not only adds holiday sparkle to your luminary, it covers up any uneven cutting.

Add Some Glam

(photo: Jonathan Fong)

Staple a thin feather boa to the top of the paper bag. Be sure to staple all sides so the boa doesn’t sag. Color coordinate the feathers with the bag.

Light It Up

(photo: Jonathan Fong)

Place a flameless LED votive candle inside the bag. The flameless votive is much safer than a real candle, and it lasts much longer.

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